Picture of first sit-in August 13, 1960 and closed lunch counter. “It was never about a hot dog and a Coke®!” More »
Members of the 1960 Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP TODAY---with Marjorie Meeks Brown, Dr. Arnett E. Girardeau, Iona Godfrey King, Rometa Graham Porter, Isaac Carnes, Alton Yates. More »
With NAACP National Executive Secretary Roy Wilkins in 1960 when he spoke in Jacksonville at one of the NAACP Mass Meetings. More »
With Dr. Michael Eric Dyson-Speaker at the 2009 Jacksonville Branch NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner. More »
With Dr. Charles Ogletree, the Harvard Law School Jesse Climenko Professor of Law, and Founding and Executive Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice...and the Speaker at the 2008 Jacksonville Branch NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner. Dr. Ogletree taught both Michelle Obama and President Obama at Harvard Law School. More »
Ruby Hurley and Ella Baker, two of 12 Civil Rights Icons immortalized in the 2009 USPS Stamp Issue-Civil Rights Pioneers. More »
Mrs. Ruby Hurley, Southeastern Regional Director NAACP and our 1960 NAACP Youth Council Surrogate Mother. More »
50th Anniversary Commemoration of the 1960 Sit-ins and Ax Handle Saturday with members of the 1960 Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP. From left...Issac Carnes, Marjorie Meeks Brown, Mary Chisholm Underwood, Iona Godfrey King, and Ann Albertie Hurst (yep my wife). In the rear of the Pulpit area at Bethel Baptist Institutional Church...from left...Ms. Adora Nweze, President of the Florida State Conference of Branches NAACP; Rev. Dr. Randolph Bracy; Isaiah Rumlin, President of the Jacksonville Branch; and Bethel Senior Co-Pastor, Bishop Rudolph McKissick Sr. More »
Dr. Johnnetta Cole, Speaker at the 2013 ASALH National Convention Banquet in Jacksonville, Florida. More »
Dr. Robert Hayling, Me, and Charlie Cobb at the 2014 Florida Heritage Book Festival for our presentation on the Civil Rights/Freedom Summer Movement. More »
You fought a WAR to preserve Slavery and a Free Labor Economy and YOU LOST! You started the WAR because of your wallets and your pocketbooks. When your Southern States seceded, you created an Enemy government called the Confederacy. Every member of the Confederacy Enemy government —Jefferson Davis and his cabinet…Robert E. Lee and his Generals…and the Confederacy Soldiers…should have been tried for Treason and as War Criminals for seeking to overthrow the United States of America. BUT…Andrew Johnson, Vice President under Abraham Lincoln and who became president after Lincoln was assassinated, was a South sympathizer and a Slavery supporter —yet another reason among the many why Lincoln was assassinated. Racist President Andrew Johnson gave all members of the Confederacy a Blanket Amnesty precluding the filing of charges against them for War Crimes. You have NO Confederacy Heritage. It is all YOUR LIES because YOU LOST, and because Southern White Racists LIKE YOU will not admit the so-called Civil War was about SLAVERY!
The Struggle Continues. RLHSR.
I went to the Jacksonville International Airport with my son to celebrate the triumphant return of the Ribault Lady Trojans National Champion Basketball team back to Jacksonville. And although my son graduated from Raines and “bleeds” Cardinal Red and Silver Gray, going to the airport tonight was not about the rivalry of Raines and Ribault, but the ecstatic dignity of the moment.
Raines and Ribault are probably the only schools so situated in this county and perhaps in the state of Florida. Raines was built less than a mile from Ribault to forestall integration. Then the neighborhoods around Ribault changed from White to Black almost overnight after two “enterprising” White realtors moved two Black families into Sherwood Forest and Harborview. White flight began immediately and did not stop until Ribault became a Black school. Thus a rivalry began….a heated and spirited rivalry, but not a bad blood rivalry. Students at Raines and Ribault are friends. Their parents attended Raines and Ribault and they lived in the same neighborhoods.
Correspondingly their children attend Raines and Ribault and live in the same neighborhoods. Yet the lines were blurred this Saturday night as I watched Raines Vikings fans join with Ribault Trojans fan by the hundreds to welcome the triumphant Lady Trojans Basketball team back to town as Dick Sporting Goods National Girls Basketball champions. I could not help but reflect on the historical significance of the moment.
*My mind flashed back to 1958 when segregated Matthew W. Gilbert Junior Senior High School won the first state public school championship and the pride we all felt and especially the Eastside of Jacksonville, but because of racism and segregation they had to wait 50 years for their recognition;
*I thought about 1964 when Bob Hayes won two Gold medals in the Tokyo Japan Olympics and put Jacksonville on the map and yet was only received as a hero in Jacksonville’s Black community;
*I thought about Coach Welton Coffey and the Raines Vikings in what was arguably the strongest division in high school football in the state winning Florida’s 1997 4A championship and the pride the Northwest side felt making Raines only the second Duval County high school to win a state championship 39 years after Gilbert in 1958;
*I thought about Alfred Austin, who got the ball to rolling at Ribault and the pride we felt on the Northwest side as he coached the Ribault Lady Trojans to an unheard of 8 State Girls Basketball Championships;
*And in this ultimate moment of reflection while sitting at the airport, I thought about Coach Sheila Seymore-Pennick and the 2016 edition of The Ribault Lady Trojans Basketball team, who after winning the 2016 Florida State 5A Basketball Championship went to New York City and Madison Square Garden for the Dick’s Sporting Goods National Girls Basketball Tournament. This tournament pits the best high school girls basketball teams in the country and Coach Sheila Seymore-Pennick and the Ribault Lady Trojans took care of business by beating the Number One ranked girls’ basketball team in the country, Riverdale Baptist from Maryland.
What makes this monumental accomplishment so noteworthy is this is the FIRST National Team Championship at any level for Jacksonville. And yet, these young ladies come from the Northwest side of Jacksonville. Yep the Northwest side of Jacksonville.
*You know that so-called crime ridden section of Jacksonville that always leads the local news each night and that section that no one is concerned about until there are problems.
*You know that so-called crime ridden section where according to professional educators the schools are in such bad shape they barely exist and multiple changes are necessary.
*You know that so-called crime ridden section of Jacksonville where according to the media you take your life in your hands just to walk across the street.
*Yet that so-called crime ridden section has produced the Ribault Lady Trojans, the BEST and the FINEST young ladies basketball team in the country; and which by the way also includes several student athletes who will graduate from Ribault in a dual curriculum with their Associate of Arts degree.
Coach Sheila Seymore-Pennick and the Lady Trojans have put Jacksonville on the map…AGAIN. The publicity Jacksonville has received through ESPN and the work of the Lady Trojans is the stuff a Chamber of Commerce can only dream about. They garnered this national honor for themselves and their school and the school system and their community and their parents. And in spite of, they garnered this national honor for a city, which by its action, gives less than a tinker’s damn about them as Black students from a predominantly Black school.
In the meantime Jacksonville, RECOGNIZE these Lady Trojans and their coach in a style and a manner befitting NATIONAL CHAMPIONS. They have given you recognition and prominence which you do not deserve but you will richly benefit. They are the first and only National Champion Jacksonville has and they represent a public high school. Imagine That? A tweak and a couple of comments on the internet do not quite get it. Let’s see Jacksonville, IF YOU are up to the task and up to the Moment.